Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lunch for 500, anyone?

Not being very adept in the kitchen, I can attest to the anxiety that grips me whenever we host a houseful of guests for a meal here in California. 12 friends coming for Christmas dinner?  How ever will I manage?

The women who cook for the girls at St Bakhita's have my complete admiration. They prepare a meal every day for the school's 500 girls.  They don't do it by hopping in a car and driving to the nearest grocery store. They don't do it with a microwave or a self-cleaning oven. They don't do it with electricity or any of the other conveniences that I take for granted and that make my feeble cooking complaints pitifully hollow.

They do it by winnowing the grain, then sorting it by hand to toss out stones or bugs. They haul the water, prepare the firewood, cook in huge pots that need to be scrubbed and re-scrubbed. They do it bent over from the waist for hours; they tend the fire that fills their eyes with dangerous smoke.  And they do it singing, happy to have a paying job. Lunch for 500, anyone? Step right up!

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